A Portrait can be seen as a bildungsroman and as ‘aesthetic autobiography’. In the matter of stationing himself, Joyce keeps varying his distance from Stephen but never does so drastically. What happens in A Portrait is that the autobiographical element which is otherwise its very significant ingredient is consciously and painstakingly recast into a mode of depersonalization, objectification and mystification.
The rain laden trees in the way to the University evoke: The rain laden trees in the way to the University always evoked in Stephen’s mind the memories of girls and women in the plays of Gerhard Hauptmann, a German dramatist.
‘foetus’ :Stephen found the word ‘foetus’ carved on a desk in the anatomy theatre of Queen’s College at Cork where he guided by his father made a visit. The word cut on the desk unveil the unvarnished truth that what he had deemed ‘a brutish and individual malady of his own mind’ is common to all. This realization drives Stephen to taste the mystery of sex.